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Out of Mind, Out of Sight

What happens to people who suffer from mental illnesses and commit violent crimes? Where do they go? How are they treated? Little is known about the facilities—once called asylums for the criminally insane—to which some of these patients are sent. Now known as forensic psychiatric hospitals, these are institutions inside which patients disappear away from public view for years. Four-time Emmy winner John Kastner has been granted unprecedented access to one such hospital: the Brockville Mental Health Centre. He filmed inside this facility for eighteen months, allowing forty six patients and seventy five staff to share their experiences with stunning frankness. The result is two remarkable documentaries. The first, NCR: Not Criminally Responsible, premiered at Hot Docs in the spring of 2013 and follows the story of a violent patient released into the community, much to the alarm of his victim and her family. Kastner’s film returns to the Brockville Mental Health Centre to follow treatment processes normally hidden from the public, profiling four patients—two men and two women—as they struggle to gain control over their lives, so they can return to a society that often fears and demonizes them.

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